conversion

Weeks ago, I heard a lyrebird 

mimic a chainsaw. In its gullet, 

 

a song composed  

with the fall of a body.  

 

I hurried silently, scrawling myself 

over scripture, so that later, 

 

I could salvage aftermath

from wildfire. Holy reclamation 

 

is how I imagined my body,  

a land cradled by oceans,

 

affliction finally beyond reach. 

 

And yet here I find myself again, 

genuflecting before another open flame. 

 

I whisper to the mirror all the

memories I hope to understand, 

 

and last month wells up, shaking

like a storm before the flood. 

  

But as I take moral inventory 

of all that I have lost,   

 

my hands come up dry.  

The emptiness of realization.  

 

A bird perched 

across my larynx. 

 

This is no hospital, only palliative care. 

I peel back my papered throat and begin to sing.

Patrick Wang is a rising freshman who will be attending Washington University in St. Louis as a University Scholar. His writing has been published by Chautauqua Journal, Mobius, and the Blue Marble Review, among others. In his spare time, he raises fake cacti and edits for Ephimiliar Journal.

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